August 7, 2018 – Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Tuesday thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law a measure that created a national identification system.
Rep. Barbers, one of 8 authors of the Philippine Identification System Act (PhilSys Act), said the new law is proof that the Duterte Administration is determined to help alleviate the plight of Filipinos from poverty.
“The universal ID system is a progressive economic tool that will ensure every Filipino will have access to financial services and development opportunities,” Barbers said.
“Most Filipinos are denied of financial services because they do not have identification cards,” he said.
A Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas study shows that fewer Filipinos save money through financial institutions, such as banks and cooperatives, which could be attributed to lack of proper identification documents, Barbers said.
“When opening a bank account, for instance, most banks require two forms of identification. Filipinos want to keep money in banks, but how could they if the majority don’t have proper IDs?” Barbers asked.
“Saving money in a bank helps us develop the habit of saving and leads to a better relationship with financial institutions. This, in turn, could lead to potential investments and could ultimately lead to financial freedom,” he added.
The congressman from Surigao del Norte said a national ID system could help combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
“Tougher banking regulations, coupled with a universal ID system, could be used as an additional safeguard to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism as the ID system would prevent money launderers and terrorists from creating fictitious bank accounts,” Barbers stressed.
Barbers, chair of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Dangerous Drugs, also said a national ID would be an effective tool against organized crime groups, such as drug syndicates, kidnap-for-ransom gangs, and bank robbery syndicates.
“The national ID system could also help our anti-crime and anti-drug campaign as crime suspects will be easier to identify. With the PhilSys, it will be a lot harder to escape the long arm of the law,” Barbers further said.#